Do you know what it’s like to not be able to communicate with your neighbors, unable to tell a paramedic what hurts or at a loss to ask for the the simplest item at a store? Mahananda Luitel does. The former refugee now teaches English to among the city’s hundreds of internationally born people who come to Akron each year.
“I saw people here having language as a big problem, so I started teaching,” says Luitel, who moved to the U.S. as a refugee in 2009, and moved to Akron in 2011. “I realize teaching language for adults is making their lives independent, and giving them skills to survive. These people having no language to communicate, have a big barrier, even with their neighbors.”
On any given day, agencies like Project Learn and the International Institute of Akron perform this critical activity of not only teaching English as a second language but also teaching comprehension of the language, and the ability to talk to a neighbor or clerk.
English teacher and volunteer Carl Pfromm says he enjoys getting to know his students on a personal level and sharing thoughts and experiences.
“ I would like to travel the world to see different cultures,” he adds. “Well, I don’t have to travel the world to do that. I just have to come to the International Institute.”
“These people are dedicated and they are eager to come to class,” says volunteer English teacher Linda Clifford. “I see with my students that they make enormous strides in adapting to Akron and job opportunities and classroom opportunities.”